Medical Groups Urge Congress To ‘Refocus’ Meaningful Use Program
Citing issues with Stage 2 of the meaningful use program and CMS' failure to make adequate changes, 112 medical societies -- including the California Medical Association -- on Tuesday sent letters to congressional leaders urging them to intervene and "refocus" Stage 3 of the program, EHR Intelligence reports.
Under the 2009 economic stimulus package, providers who demonstrate meaningful use of certified electronic health records can qualify for Medicaid and Medicare incentive payments (Murphy, EHR Intelligence, 11/3).
Details of Letters
In the letters to House and Senate lawmakers, the coalition -- led by the American Medical Association-- said that Stage 2 of the program has "largely been a failure, with only 12% of physicians successfully participating and little improvement in data exchange across care settings" (Slabodkin, Health Data Management, 11/4).
Despite such "widespread failure," the Obama administration has not responded to stakeholder feedback "and instead has chosen to perpetuate the current failed program through the release of Stage 3 meaningful use," the groups argued (EHR Intelligence, 11/3).
In doing so, CMS "has continued to layer requirement on top of requirement," the coalition wrote, adding, "What has emerged from this morass of regulation is a system that relegates physicians to the role of data entry clerks" (Conn, "Vital Signs," Modern Healthcare, 11/3).
The coalition called on Congress "to refocus the meaningful use program on the goal of achieving a truly interoperable system of EHRs that will support, rather than hinder, the delivery of high quality care" (EHR Intelligence, 11/3).
The groups wrote, "We believe that the success of the program hinges on a laser-like focus on promoting interoperability and allowing innovation to flourish as vendors respond to the demands of physicians and hospitals rather than the current system where vendors must meet the ill-informed check-the-box requirements of the current program" (Versel, MedCity News, 11/3).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.